One program’s loss is another program’s gain, which seems likely to prove true for Odessa Permian in 2017.
As part of a stacked 2-6A division, the historical powerhouse Permian Panthers appear to be on the right side of yearly offseason attrition and the impact it leaves behind. Division foe San Angelo Central loses 17 starters from a 12-win team that dominated its 2016 slate, while a nine-win Midland High team seeks to replace 51 seniors. Amarillo Tascosa, too, loses a significant amount of key contributors after making the playoffs for the third consecutive season in 2016.
Meanwhile, Odessa Permian returns a ridiculous amount of talented youth from a team that began 4-0 in 2016, in which the Panthers outscored their first four opponents 192-66.
Now healthy and led by a pair of juniors in running back Ed Williams and outside linebacker Matt Jones—both were District 2-6A first-team selections—the Panthers are loaded and the team to beat in their district.
Prediction: Odessa Permian
One of the most spread out districts in terms of geography, District 2-6A also was one of the toughest in the state last year. San Angelo Central was a special team last year, Midland High had one of their best years in quite some time and Amarillo Tascosa’s triple option presented tough challenges for its competition. You also can’t forget about Wolfforth Frenship in the mix as well. The one team missing from the picture: Odessa Permian, who had injuries and close calls that left them on the outside looking in.
The big theme for 2017 is replacement as Midland and San Angelo Central must replace several key starters from great teams last year. Frenship should also have plenty of intrigue under new head coach Jay Northcutt and with running back Garrison Johnson back, they will be a tough challenge for their opponents.
That said, Permian is back healthy and have a year of experience under their belts that should help them. Head coach Blake Feldt said earlier this offseason that this is the best team that he’s had in years. With quarterback Steve Steen, running backs Brother Miller and Ed Williams and a talented defense all returning, I think the Panthers not only have what it takes to win district but also get a couple rounds deep in the playoffs.
Prediction: Odessa Permian
Both of my colleagues like Odessa Permian this year, and to be fair, there’s a lot to like. The Panthers bring back a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, and will have a lot of home games to get acclimated to their new pieces.
However, I’m still taking San Angelo Central to win this district. Permian returns a bunch, yes, but Central will return some very important skill position players like Maverick McIvor, Gage Smith, and Henry Teeter. They have the recent success and the framework, and most importantly, they’ll take on their toughest district opponent, Permian, at home. The ‘Cats will have some tune-up games before then, a road trip to Abilene to start the year is especially daunting. However, I think that the Angry Orange can gel before district starts. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the means, but I think Central takes it.
Rest assured Permian fans and fans of other teams – this was not an easy call to make. This district is going to produce some exciting October games.
Prediction: San Angelo Central
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